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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the Distant Yes. Your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your guest as usual, Luis Mirej. And, I’m here with my, Special guest, Minnie Denekoja. Minnie is the a start up mentor and a remote work enthusiast. She is the founder Of Happy Work Studio, a brand that guides organizations to create a happy workplace with happy, fulfilled, and self aware employees. Mimi, Welcome to the show.
Hello. Hi, Louis. It’s great to be on the show.
It’s, a pleasure to to have you. So, you know, let let’s begin by talking a bit about remote work. And How did you first encounter remote work, and how has it shaped your your life and your career moving forward?
Mhmm. So it was back in 2012. Before that, I, was working for electronic retailers so that I was a corporate employee, and my last job was with Best Buy. And after that, the they decided to shut down the international operations. So After that, I said, okay. I’m going to do freelancing, do my own stuff, and, that’s how I came across this world because I was high I mean, I had my own startup. I started a digital invitation website. And for that, I was looking for Freelancers.
So that’s how I, got to know about Elance. It was like Outwork was Elance back then.
All this Elance, freelancer.com. So I started hiring people, the get gig talents from, forms. And then I realized, well, this could be like a job. So I started, getting gigs from those platforms. And in the the the following months, I mean, so it was really going well with my own, freelancing career as well. But then there was a job ad, with Elance, they were looking for country representatives in specific countries, and Turkey was one of them. So I became their country representative, Upwork mobilizer program, and so I started doing events to talk about the future of work, How the gig economy would help the businesses and also did, like, start up events. So I was, like, sponsoring events, giving training to people on how to bid for the jobs, gig jobs, and did, couple of future work conferences with international speakers.
So that’s how everything started for me. And then I became country manager for Different, companies, remote work companies. Mhmm. One of them was Crossover, and Crossover is still one of the biggest, remote work talent pools in the world. I was their country manager.
So I was, like, a thought leader in Turkey, one of The 1st ones in Turkey to talk about the future of work remote work. So that’s how everything actually evolved.
Yeah. And this was Pretty early on. Right? When when you were working with with crossover, when was that?
With crossover, it was 2018. And with Upwork, it was 2012, so almost like 11 years Yeah. Ago. Yeah.
Yeah. So so that’s a a lot of experience. So you were really positioned, Right. To to help out once all the world was was forced to go remote or most of the world was forced To to to go remote. How was that transition into COVID times for you? Did suddenly your your email inbox Claude, your phone ring all the time, or did you go out and find out the the people that that were struggling because there were a lot of people struggling there?
So it was, like, really a fun time for me. For everyone else, it was like, you know, they were in crisis. They didn’t know how to transition to this new way of Working. And for me, I could feel that I seeded, you know, those, like, plans for over the the, years, and everything was, like, blooming for me. So what I did was I was I started I just people started inviting me To, share my knowledge and just, like, you know, help them. And one of the biggest companies in Turkey, one of the biggest FMCG companies in Turkey, the head of HR of that company reached out to me and asked me for help. And she said, we don’t know where to start because people that was the problem. It wasn’t about the infrastructure.
Yes. For some companies, it was the infrastructure. They were not ready to, just like, you know, transition to this way of working. But for most of them, it was either about the mindset or that they didn’t know how to make this right. So they invited me to be a consultant. That’s how I actually, decided to, start another brand. I have 2 brands. 1 is Stardust, and I was, like, doing everything under that brand.
But Happy Work Studio was just, like, Found it because of that. As I said, okay. I I really want to help companies to make this right and to, for the employees to feel happy as they’re working. So it’s not something like, you know, they’re dreading, but, like, they enjoy coming to work every day and just Like, through remote work that they can just, like, enjoy even more.
Yeah. So why I mean, obviously, this sounds a bit Strange question. Right? But but why the focus on on happiness? Because as you yourself said, right, a lot of people had, challenges with with infrastructure, right, mainly. And then after infrastructure, I guess we can talk about also challenges just in management and knowing how to Track work, you know, work done, communication, etcetera. But you decided to and I understand that you help with all of that, of course. Right? Happiness is not exclusive to all The rest. But but why did you choose to focus your brand, right, on the on the happiness part?
So that was Kinda like it happened at the same time when I started my brand because I was a life coach, and then I got a Certification as a happiness coach. So I was, like, thinking, and I was, like, seeing people not being it was a COVID people who were just like you know, they were gloomy. They did not enjoy that transition. They were actually intimidated by A virus. Like, a virus that we couldn’t see with our naked eyes, but that was like people were intimidated by their lives.
So it was like a life and death thing, and that’s when they realized that there are things that are more important than work. But then I was, like, thinking there’s a way that people can just, like, you know, work and feel happy at the same time. Mhmm. So I kind of, like, combined both of those expertises and my both expertise areas like remote work and the well-being side, my coaching and my happiness studies, And just, like, combine them to, make it like a more like a niche bank to offer, people. And even now, Like, one of the biggest issues, one of the biggest controversies that we see in the the remote, workspace Mhmm. Is that people are feeling and just, like, experiencing deep burnout. And that’s and sometimes they’re just like, you know, Kind of putting the blame on remote work, but it’s actually about the the the remote work not being done in the right way. So I said, okay.
If you do it right way and if you just, like, you know, combine it with your human skills, with, like, programs, what will be I mean, what what can be even, like, better than that combination.
Yeah. So what why do you think right? What’s your take on that that why do you think that the people are experiencing more burnout Working remotely, than they were before because right? That’s that’s a bit counterintuitive. You think that If they’re working from home or if they’re working from a place of their choosing, right, and with the flexible time that comes with remote work and all of that. There are a lot of advantages to remote work. So it’s not intuitive that there would be more burnouts than when there’s no remote work. So why do you think that is? What do you feel is the origin of that? I’m sure you have thought a lot about this.
Well, first of all, not All companies who offer remote work opportunity offers flexibility as well. Yeah. So they let their employees work remotely, but it’s only about the location change that they’re offering, not the flexibility. So it’s usually Not done in the right way. Like, they say, okay. We are just, you know, embracing remote work, and you can just, like, you know, work from wherever you like. Mhmm. But you have to be present from 9 to 6, let’s say.
Yeah. And you have to just, like, you know, be on Let’s say if they’re using Slack, you have to be on all the time. Or, like, this is our lunch break, and you have to make lunch during this time, but no other time. So flexibility and this, research also shows there was a research, A survey done during the world happiness fest, last year, it shows that flexibility is the number one thing that makes people happy. So people want to just be flexible. They want to just enjoy the fact that they can choose their own time, choose How and when they want to work. So the biggest thing now we see is that people are, yes, are given the right to work from anywhere, but they’re not Given the the right to be flexible in that term. So I think that’s number 1.
Yeah. And number number 2 is the The workload. I mean, I see that people are just like, you know, they they were saving some time from the commute time, But now they’re just like putting that time into work, not just like, you know, to relax or to do something else, but they are just like, you know?
They are actually spreading too thin on the surface because of that. Because they are just like, you know, no. Not taking any breaks For either lunch or, like, for some stretching. So, I mean, they just, like, work, work, work because they are doing it in the wrong way. That’s why I’m Saying that, you know, you have to do the remote remote work in the in the right way. Because if you malpractice it, then it’s going to yield to, burnout. So workload is number 2. Mhmm.
And number number 3 is I think, well, people are just like, you know, Transition into, remote work just like, work from anywhere. They just, like, replace that communication that they were having in the office with meetings. So now they’re just, like, you know, having more meetings than they used to do. And most of those meetings are not needed. I mean, those meetings could easily be replaced with, let’s say, Loom messages, or, like, And instant messaging or anything just like, you know, a one line thing. But now they are just like you know, they feel that They are not in close proximity to their colleagues, so any conversation that’s supposed to happen in the office, they said, let’s have a meeting. So I think those top three reasons for, the burnout is just like, you know, it’s really common with the companies that I’m working with, with the employees who Started experiencing remote work after the pandemic. These are, like, the most common, reasons why.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So so maybe, like, let’s zoom in on each one of those because I think that each one of those has their own interesting, points. So so starting with flexibility. Right? How do you advise people to organize so they can combine ability with with focus because I I’m I’m obviously a fan of of flexibility. I I Try to offer my team maximum flex flexibility and help them set their own schedules and and stuff like that. But I I find that Something that tends to happen often is that people take flexibility, and they decide that they’re going to fit work Inside whatever else is going into their lives, and that makes from them that that often makes makes them miss deadlines or forget work Or or or or stuff like that.
Now the way I’ve solved that for myself is that I have a schedule. Right? I define my schedule, But I do have a schedule that’s the same every day. You know, it’s slight alterations, obviously, depending on my life on a day to day basis. But at the end of the day, I I still stick to, you know, as you said, you know, start working at at at 9, stop working at 5, have a break for lunch, You know, in between, right, I do select, you know, the the break time. And, you know, sometimes, On some days, I determine that I start 1 hour earlier. Others, I stop an hour later. But I I find that, You know, flex too much flexibility means that nothing gets done. So, how do you recommend people organize this this thing that everyone loves because everyone loves freedom and flexibility is freedom.
Yep. So first of all, I would say that In order to let people be in their own rhythm, it’s really important that we are setting clear goals and that Lines. So that I mean so remote work and flexibility doesn’t mean that people can just, like, you know, do whatever they want in whatever timeline. So that’s going to impact the performance of the team because they are part of a team. They are part of a company. So it’s really important that we are communicating those Clear goals and deadlines to people to make sure that within that flexibility that they are actually, like, managing their time right To meet those deadlines. Because, like, otherwise, the the the performance is going to be, lower in that team. But to some, like, hacks about, like, giving that flexibility, I always, tell people That you need to have, like, a concrete frame and leave people flexible within that frame because people love borders.
People I mean, they feel safe. It’s like the kids as well. I mean, with the kids, we also tell them that, okay, if you give them roles, then they feel more Here, they feel, you know, okay, and within those borders to leave them flexible. So I would just like, you know, Strongly encourage companies to have a remote policy and a a handbook, just putting those frames. So to just like, you know, let people know what is right and what is not right so that they have that frame and they keep that flexibility within that frame, Within the the borders. And to give you an example, even putting the cams on or off should be mentioned in that policy. Because for some companies, for the cultural reasons, maybe it’s not acceptable to put the cams off. Yeah.
But, like, for some, Maybe they don’t just, like, care. Or for some companies, this is, like, also flexibility thing. Maybe it’s okay not to Hand all the meetings in person, but to watch the the recording afterwards. So this is also flexibility so that I know that I’m flexible, with those meetings, and as long as I watch it and take my to dos at the designated time, You know, before the deadline, before, my just like, you know, task is due, that is okay to watch it from the recording. I don’t need to be present physically, Not not physically, but, like, you know, in real time. I cannot be, just like, you know, present. So those kind of things. But I would like, Individually, I would, encourage individuals to put everything on their calendars to start with.
Because sometimes they just, like, you know, think that they can do it all because they don’t do it put it on their calendar. But they have, like, personal life Tasks or, like, they have commitments. They have just, like, you know, coffee breaks. Put everything on your calendar. I mean, if you’re like a newbie In remote work, definitely definitely put everything on your calendar so that you your scheduling It’s, like, feasible because otherwise, they just like you know, it’s the end of the day, and they’re just, like, halfway through with their tasks because they are just like all those interventions happening in their life.
Yeah. I I mean, you say newbies, but I’ve been doing this for over a decade now. And and I will I still I need to put everything on my calendar because I just overestimate what I can do in a day. Right? Unless it’s Yeah. Unless I put it right visually in the calendar, I’m I’m just going to say, oh, today, I’ll end all of that. Right? And and that’s that that that is not going to that is not going to happen. Right. I I I want to zoom in a bit on the, on the conversation piece.
Right? This is something that I’ve shifted my You know, as I learn more and as I get my experience, I get more experience, and as I try new things, I I’ve gone back and forth on the utility of videos. Right? I I I’ve been, an art core, no video, no calls, just chat. Right. Just text person. But these days, I’ve gonna get a bit back on that. I found that I appreciate video a lot more in situations like we are right now. Right? When it’s a 1 on 1 conversation. Right? I like the Synchronous video, I think that there’s a lot of impact and a lot of interest, right, in in having 2 people, right, in a call.
Right? Just like, you know, it’s better to have 2 people in a room than 2 people in a call. Right? It feels like 2 people in a call is best than 2 people, messaging each other back and forth and having a conversation. Of course, that’s different from if I just want to give you some information, And I don’t need a reply. Right? It makes a lot more sense to give it for by in written form. I’m not not targeting against that. But the thing that still really gets to me is Multiple people write meetings. I I more and more I see less and less the interest that in that just From a time wasting perspective, because just the nature of video calls is that when someone is talking, the other people are shut up. So if there’s 1 people 1 person talking and 5 people listening, that’s like, you know, 4 people are wasting their time.
So I I I
Exactly. And usually usually, they don’t even waste their their time, but they’re Concentrating on something else, like the email that they receive at that or a Slack message that they so they just like, you know, at the moment, How people are treating the meetings is just like, you know, it’s their spare time to reply to emails to get things done. Is there, like, you know, spare time to to just, like, you know, put things off there to do list, which is a waste of time. Because, like, Our brain is not functioning like that. Our our brain is not designed to do multitasking. I mean, like, doing different set of things at the same time. So, like, although you feel like you can multitask and do those things at the same time, you’re you’re just like missing out on both Because you are not 100% present in either of them, not even in the meeting, the conversation, and Not in the the reply, the email, the situation. So you’re just, like, you know, kind of divided into Taking care of 2 things, and that’s why people feel burned out because they don’t even realize that their brain is overfunctioning To make sure that they are just, like, you know, capable of doing it both things at the same time, but our brain is not like that.
Yeah. Yeah. That that that’s true. And then, you know, there’s that that that other piece, right, that that it just doesn’t people tell me that videos are important for brainstorming. Right? If They they need something that they need the input of everyone in the team. It makes sense to get everyone, you know, on a Zoom call. But that that just seems ridiculous to me Because no matter how how important the opinions of the people on the call are, they’re all only speaking 1 at a time. Right.
Yeah. So it it makes more sense to me to do that in a Google doc or in a Slack channel and just where where I can see what our people are saying and at my own pace, right, and reply and consider what they are writing instead of feeling that I have to be you know, It’s like being forced into a freestyle rap battle every time we are we we want to have ideas. Right? I need to have the ideas now at that time while the person is talking, and then I end up not even paying that much attention to what the person is saying.
Exactly. Because, like, this is, like, by research. The research shows that while we are talking, we are paying attention to our k. When someone else is talking, we are again concentrate on the things that we would say after that person, not really a 100% concentrating on that. So I think that is really a waste of time. I mean, I’m not totally against, having meetings, but meetings, I think, needs to be the last resort. And I am with the companies that I’m giving consultancy. We do, meeting decision trees.
So when and if You need to have a meeting. So that decision tree and I’m just, like, you know, asking everyone before you accept the meeting, 1 Or like before creating a meeting, go through that decision tree and make sure that, you know, you really need that meeting. And 2, once you receive an invitation from someone for a meeting, go through the decision tree of, shall I shall I attend this meeting? And just like make sure that you are really needed in that meeting. And I strongly encourage people to have, this thing, like, you know, agenda, like, really granular agenda with the time stamps so that if someone is needed Towards the end so that that person can attend the the second half of the meeting, but not the first half so that they know, during which Period of that meeting that they’re needed, their involvement is needed so that they can manage their time and attend, you know, that portion of that meeting, not Necessarily the whole meeting.
Yeah. How do you usually advise people to to organize these things? Who who do you think to take ownership of a meeting, and what should that person think about and do?
Mhmm. So, I mean, whoever is the, Let me say, like, the manager of that topic. So whoever is just like, you know, either facilitating that, topic or anything that’s needed should be the meeting organizer. And I also like, in the policy remote Policy, the handbook, I also make sure that we are mentioning those roles, the meeting roles. Like, what does the meeting organizer do? What does the meeting, attendee do. Like, all those, like, the moderator because I think there should also be a moderator. It could They’ll be the organizer or, like, you know, there could be someone else because that person needs to keep the time, And they need to just, like, keep an eye on the agenda, whether it’s just, like, you know, whether people are just, like, spending more time than supposed to. And also send the the keep the meeting notes.
Send the meeting notes to make sure that everyone receives those. Make sure that there are to dos and, like, tasks. So, like, there has to be someone that has that responsibility and that someone needs to know their Responsibility. With most of these things, people usually know what needs to be done, but it’s about the action. So the problem is usually with the company. It doesn’t become into a habit so that they know that they need those meeting rules, But they don’t keep those meeting notes. And they
Yeah. It’s it’s extra work for someone, and no one wants the extra work. Right? It’s, Obviously, it’s wet it’s it’s extra work that pays down the line. Right? But but we’re wired not
to think about
- We’re we’re wired to think about the present work. And, you know, Future Lewis’ work is his problem, not mine. Right?
Exactly. So until something just like, you know, becomes a burning thing
They just like, you know, say, okay. I mean, let’s not do this so it’s not that crucial. They don’t just, like, you know, see that direct effect, direct benefit. So, yeah, I mean, they don’t realize that this is, you know, a problem until it becomes a real like a stopper in their business. So and that’s why we are just like, you know, I’d like to call my consultants as preventive consultancy just like the authentic house. Because, like, I am telling them, you know, if you do these things and if you’re just, like, you know, be, taking precaution against these, Then you will not be facing the burnout or you will not be facing the the work overload. Because usually what people do is one once when they Comfort consultancy is usually when they have that bottleneck or when they have that crisis that they cannot overcome and need your support with that. What I’m what I’m telling them is to just, like, you know, take those preemptive actions, and so that It is just like, you know, not something that becomes like a crisis, but you are just like, you know, maintaining, stable, organization.
Yeah. So let’s talk a bit more about, the the the happiness piece. Right? How do you feel companies can engage their employees In order to make them more happy, to make them not necessarily more productive, though I firmly believe that happier employees are more productive. Right? That’s Something that Mhmm. I’ve seen to be true more and more. Right? But but just as general, right, there was a while ago, right, some years ago, There was this movement to do, Zoom parties, right, have drinks, etcetera, etcetera. I’m not saying that doesn’t work. I personally would never enjoy them too much.
It felt very forced, very awkward. Right? But but I’m wondering, you know, what’s out there. Right? What what Things that you what things are done these days to to make people feel integrated, feel like that they’re they’re not just part of Some sort of huge work machine, but they’re actually, you know, in a space where there there are other humans around, you know, humans that they Could enjoy interacting because that that’s something that I noticed happens in a lot of companies is that when you just do Work transactions every day, people start feeling a bit like apps or machines or non playable characters. And There’s kind of a you don’t fully forget that they’re human. I’m not suggesting that, but there seems to be a lack of humanity the more you only engage in transactional, interactions at work.
Yeah. So, we are also doing, workplace happens consultant Program with HappyTude, I am their licensed partner, and I’m giving the global training.
that in that program, we talk about 3 p’s of happiness and corporate happiness programs. And those 3 piece, the first level is pleasure. And as you were suggesting, That pleasure comes from those happy hours, the company get togethers, I mean, all those, you know, things that gives pleasure to people for a short period of time. So once that picnic is over, once the the happy hour is over, they are back to their misery. So, yes, it feels Great. Well, you are in it, but the the longevity of that happiness is not really long. So the 2nd level is purpose. I’m sorry.
The passion. The so if you can just, like, make people passionate about what they do at work And that passion usually gets derived from, you know, either growth, like self growth that they are Passionate about doing something else because they are growing in that in that job or that they are doing something so Hash number because it’s in, in, in line with their capabilities, their skills, or that they are being involved in decision making, that their Ideas, holds are being valued. That makes people passionate about their job. So that’s 2nd level. And the 3rd level is purpose.
It’s really important that companies have a purpose company purpose. It’s something separate from the vision and the mission is something beyond that. Like, how do we make sure that we are adding some value to the lives of our employees and to the humanity, to the customers and, You know, in humanity in general. And if a company has a purpose and if the purpose of that individual, employee is in line with the purpose of the company, Then they feel fulfilled at work.
Because otherwise, they’ll be, waiting for those pleasure pleasurable moments of happy hours. And just like, you know, whenever someone get offers you a better salary, then they will leave for that better salary or for that that Better perk or that better office or, like, you know Absolutely. That’s something extrinsic. You need to create something intrinsic That touches them within so that they their engagement and happiness is sustainable.
Yeah. And conversely, I mean, this This should be said. I know you’re not suggesting that, but I should just just say it right because I know that if I don’t say it, some people listening to the podcast will take it. Right? You know, Doing all these things is not a replacement for for paying paying your employees poorly. Right? The the reality is that to be happy, People also need to be paid what they’re worth. Right?
Exactly. Exact that’s exact you know? So if we, look at the the Maslow’s knees, prem pyramid. So Exactly. I mean, there has to be, like, safety and, you know, survival. So that That’s default.
Like, there are some things that needs to be default that you are just, like, providing them with the The the the salaries, the perks, the benefits, and, like, safety psychological safety, that’s not Then there are some things that are not negotiable, and those are things that are nonnegotiable that you need to just, like, you know, pay them Fairly. You need to treat them fairly. You need to have psychological safety. They need to feel that trust. But I’m talking about the activities that you do for happiness. Yes. And and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do things that are going to give people that pleasure level, But it’s about the portion and it’s about the the percentage of those activities that you do to maintain, sustainable happiness for the employees.
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Absolutely. Okay. So, let’s shift gears and talk a little bit more about your own, you know, approach to personal rep approach to remote work And routine and things, like that. Now I I I I think it’s safe to assume that you keep a schedule, right, just based on our conversation. What does your usual day or your usual week look like?
Well, it’s This is like a complicated question because my my every day every day is totally different than the other. So but there are some things that I just, like, you know, kinda like my routine and that I just, like, stick to. One of them is, like, the the first thing that I do in the mornings is is I go through my to do list. Because every night, before I just, like, switch off, I always have a to do list for the next day.
That’s a great habit. I’m trying to do that,
by the way.
I’m trying to I’m not gonna always succeed, but when I succeed, I love it too.
So, I mean, I don’t like to just like, you know, promote any brand, but I love to do this. It’s really, like, intuitive, really easy. Keep it on my phone too. So whenever I think about something, because, like, you know, our mind never stops. So So whenever I think about something, I just like to put it on my to do list. And in the morning, I start with the easy ones. I start with the ones that I can easily finish, so I boost my, dopamine levels, just like, you know, that feeling of getting things done, just like, you know, achieving something. So I start my day with a dopamine boost, by clearing those to do’s off my list.
And usually, I So, like, my morning hours, I leave, like, the 1st 2 hours, for, like, the the emails, getting things done, and just like, you know, my, Team meetings. And so in the middle, I just like, you know, if I am going out for in person meetings, I usually do it, Like, from noon to afternoon, because then I pick up my kids in the afternoon. And then my I keep, like, 2 hours of slot, to have meetings with the other side of the world because I’m also working with the US, with other time zones. So from My time from 5 to 7 is my meeting slot for that, you know, having the meetings for, with that part of the world. So that’s usually, like, how my schedule looks like, but it changes every day because sometimes I have, like, delivering keynotes or, like, We bring workshops, then that totally changes my, day. But I make sure that I am Having at least 1 lunch date and 1 coffee date with, either like, 1st professional colleague or a personal friend during the week. So I’m really a social person, and I strongly recommend people To keep that social side alive because they say that they feel isolated or, like, lonely when they’re working, I am telling them to intentionally Book those, you know, meetups with people.
Do do you mean, so so 2 a week, a coffee and a lunch? And, Do you mean in person or Zoom?
Well, that’s, by the way, at least. So I make sure that I have 2, at Yes. 2 in person, because I think in person is also adding some, you know, as we really value. Yeah. So, I mean, I Usually, I mean, I keep that at least 2. And through Zoom, I always attend the you know, there’s the The donut sessions with most of my Slack channels because I am part of, lots of communities, like, you know, running remote session. So it’s like so many different communities, and I always get involved in their, doughnut rounds. And so I have At least 1 or 2 doughnut sessions throughout the
week. Yeah. That that sounds that that that sounds great. Doughnut is a is a great app. So okay. So You’ve already mentioned Todoist, which by the way, I I also love. I I don’t use because I’m a heavy Mac user, and I actually really love the Mac, JD list app. But, I’m friends with those guys.
I’ve had them done on the podcast. It’s, it’s a great tool. Apart from that one, which are the apps or the websites that you can’t live without Or you can’t work without you know, to be more accurate.
Krisp for background noise cancellation. Because I am usually not working from home, but, like, from different locations. And sometimes when you’re in a coffee shop, the coffee grind, sound or, like, people tethering is really sometimes becomes annoying. So that’s one thing. Loom. I cannot believe without Loom. So Loom check ins, check outs always happen through Loom. Slack, I cannot leave without Slack because I have so many Slack.
Accounts and my. So because, like, Google Docs, Google Sheets. I mean, that’s like a must. Trello for tasks for keeping track of tasks. And what else? Obviously, Zoom. And but now I have another one that I’m also part of the community, and I love I enjoy using it as well Sessions. I will strongly recommend sessions.
Sessions. Oh, I’ve heard about it. Need to test need to try it. I I also heard that that the Google one, Google Meet is There’s a lot improved these days.
Exactly. So I wasn’t like, you know, using Google Meet as much, but now the the The all those interactions that they have and, you know, everything that they built with the g because I’m really heavy user of G Suite. So now that integrations that you can use through Google Meet, so I’m even enjoying using that one as well. What else? Almanac for documentation. I love using Almanac for process flows. I mean, if you’re If you’re working at a company that has, the the workflows, the process flows that needs documentation, I strongly recommend using Almanac. Mhmm. And what else what else? I’m using so many tools.
ChatGPT, of course. I would just like you know for I I’m using ChatGPT for, like, the outlines, for descriptive and to give me a kickoff to ideation as well.
And so Interesting.
Yeah. I I love it. I usually use it more like a a a a dictionary or Wikipedia, right, that I can talk to for that Or or replying to emails. I find that through replying to there are so many emails that can just be handled by robots that that I definitely that’s definitely been a game changer to I wanted to ask you also, I about books. If you gift books, what books do you gift the most? And if you don’t gift books, what books do you recommend the most to to clients and friends?
The one book that I Always mentioned during my consultancy gigs is deep work and, like, atomic habits and deep work. Deep work is just like, you know, my The go to book. So it’s like, you know, it gives you so much insight about, like, the focusing because I think that’s the biggest pain that We are facing I mean, this time in the world that we that we are facing ADHD, everyone. Yeah. We don’t have, You know, longer concentration periods, we get bored, we have so many tabs open. I mean, I’m just like, you know, do looking at my browser right now. I have so many tabs off of them, and that deep work book I mean, it’s totally changed My, you know, perception and the practices, the activities, how how important is just like, you know, putting everything together to Make, like, your work, your schedule more productive, I think it’s brilliant.
He’s a great writer. Brilliant. Great writer. Yeah. Definitely recommend. Yeah. I definitely double down on that recommendation, for Deepak. Yeah.
Yeah. Distraction is is a big thing. I mean, For me, even we’re using this so we’re having the conversation with Zoom, obviously. And one thing that I’ve learned to do is to turn off my face And to just see the person that I’m telling you because even having my face on the screen distracts me. It’s it’s amazing how hard it is to focus these days.
And, you know, that was proved by research, by the way, that they say that the the Zoom burnout, there’s Because right now, we have the the terminology Zoom burnout Zoom burnout. And Zoom burnout. Yeah. The Zoom burnout is because, like, we keep an eye on ourselves. Like, when we are in real life, we never see our face in real so we don’t even concentrate on that. But when we see Ourselves on the screen, we keep just like, you know, our eyes just like, you know, start wandering around. So that’s another thing, by the way. I love walking meetings.
I really like to do walking meetings because, like, it’s pumps up your oxygen level, and at the same time, you’re not looking at something and you just, like, you know, keep being active. And it’s Right. Like, for creative conversations, It’s a must. I love doing that. No.
It it’s the best. It’s the best. Especially outside, you know, if if you have a good good noise canceling, you know, Earbuds and also a good five g network or something. You know? Doing meetings, walking outside is is my favorite kind of meeting. It’s really good.
Yeah. And I was using an app. Now I don’t remember the name of that app, but I was using an app for, work in meetings. I’ll find you. That’s lame. I can’t remember. By the way, I have another recommendation of a book for remote work.
I I agree. And, Tamara, they wrote a book. It’s called remote works.
I really enjoy. It’s kinda like a a Guidance book for me, and I always recommend it to people who start remote work because they also give, like, practical, things that you can just, like, you know, practice or, like, an activity do, and they just, like, share their own, expertise and insights.
Yeah. The they’re both great. I’ve had them both on the show, by the way, and definitely They are. Recommend that definitely recommend that book. It is a it’s a great it’s a great book. Yeah. I I’ve had Ali, you know, years ago, actually, when I started, it was one of my first guests, and then Tamara, I had more recently. They’re they’re both great.
Definitely, 100%, you know, recommend their their stuff and material. But so now let’s talk a bit about yours. Right? You know, with I want to be respectful of your time, and we’re at this for An hour. So I I do want you to tell the listeners, right, a little bit more about Happy Work Studio and where they can find you and Talk, you know, talk with you about it and, you know, what what they can how who should work with TapioWorks Studio and why?
Okay. So happy work studio. If you, either transitioned to remote or hybrid work or just like considering To do so, then we can help you to do things right. I mean, all of these things that I’ve been mentioning, We put them in a, certain structure and just like, you know, do a project with the teams to just, like, you know, write their Employee handbooks, a remote policy, and also look into their processes and see what’s, you know, what needs to be improved. I am also one of the founding members of the remote remote first institute, And we recently developed a remote work score assessment tool. It’s, based on AI, and I love it. So people can, by the way, visit Remote First Institute webpage and take their assessment. And so what I do is I usually have the teams take that assessment.
And based on the the score and the results, we focus on those areas that they need improvement with. So And that’s one thing. And the other one is we are also working with, companies to help them find their purpose, company purpose, And then the values, company values. Sometimes they do have their set of values, then what we do is we, go through those values and we verify that it still holds true for the employees and what those values mean to the employees And just like design those behavior sets so that the values are being lived in the company. We build. We do workshops with the teams to build rituals around those values so that they turn those values into behavior. We call it the the values to, results system, and we build those and just, like, incorporate everything into practice in the company. And also the well-being and happiness programs, we do certificate programs, individual happiness, happiness coach, and, workplace happiness consultant.
So we do, all those training and workshops, happens workshops. So if anyone’s interested either getting certified or, having those having those workshops in their company, we would be more than happy to help them with. And also, I I cofounded a community named Wivel. And Wivel is A community, of web three, remote work, and creator economy people. And we did our inaugural event in Cappadocia last this year in May, and now the second one is going to be in Sevilla. So if anyone’s interested in being part of the community or just like, you know, being a Sponsored, being a partner, and just, like, you know, reaching those audiences because, like, it’s really I mean, I love I can’t just, like, you know, stop talking about. It was all about building authentic connections, and people have been really building those authentic connections within the community. And we just, like, you know, try to make it a better world for these communities and just, like, true conference There’s knowledge sharing and networking.
So that’s pretty much what I would say.
Alright. That that’s That that’s a lot, but we’ll have links to all of that in the show notes so people can refer to it, learn more, and go to the to the proper places. So so yeah. Mene, thank you so much for coming. It it’s been a pleasure. It’s been an absolute pleasure, very fun conversation. Thank you so much For being part of the distant job podcast.
Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. I really enjoyed our conversation because this is why my My heart is beating, so I thank you for hosting me.
Yeah. Thank you for coming. It was awesome. And thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for listening to Yet another episode of the distant job podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. See you next week.